Notes: What’s that smell – it’s a tad sweet with a tinge of chemical toxicity? If you own a 2011 Cruze it’s probably a coolant leak. It’s a widespread and notorious problem for the car and is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in the state of New York. And that’s not the only problem 2011 owners face…

Many say the 2011 model year suffers from a throttle lag that is probably due to a fauly electronic throttle control. The problem is signifigant enough that some owners say they are too scared to drive their cars. Those that do get behind the wheel often say their transmission isn’t shifting properly and problems start occuring as early as 15,000 miles.

All of this leads us to say you’re probably better off without this car’s headaches (they’re probably chemically-induced anyway).


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,540 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #31

Mar 172011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 52,000 miles


We have a loss of engine power at any speed and two errors come up, "service stabilitrack" and "service traction control". engine loses power and cannot maintain speed especially dangerous when trying to maintain freeway speeds. Also happens at low speeds, 10 to 25 mph. Therefore it can happen at any speed. Can reset by removing battery cable, but will happen again within a day or two. This issue started about 6 months ago. Happens all the time now and is very dangerous. Went on line and found blogs where other people are also having this same issue. They are the ones that suggested we take off the battery cable to reset. We checked all the fuses as one blog said and they are all ok. Called Chevy dealer and they had no recall and wanted 100 dollars to look at it and then decide if it fell under warranty. Purchased car at 43,000 miles, currently at 73,000 miles. The issue used to happen from time to time now it happens all the time. There should be a recall for this issue. The dealership does not think it is covered by the warranty but will not say until we take it in to have it serviced. We might add we have a standard transmission as this may different than the automatic transmissions. Trying to shift without any engine power is a process in terror on the freeway.

- Oak Grove, MO, USA

problem #30

Aug 092014


  • 41,323 miles
My car keeps shutting off while im driving it.. it is now not even turning on at this point. I try to start it and wont turnover. Last week while driving down the highway at speed 35-40, my radio and A/C turned off, then the car began to slow down, then shut off in the middle of the highway. I want to add how extremely dangerous this is for me (7 months pregnant, and 2 little girls in car). I tried scheduling an appointment several times for the electrical recall and have been scheduled far out.

- Sugarland , TX, USA

problem #29

Jul 082014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 18,700 miles
The transmission does not engage from a stop to move and almost caused a collision. Even on the highway the vehicle does not shift properly and hesitates and when it finally shifts it slams into gear. The mostly occurs from a stopped position and then during acceleration. The dealership said that is how it is designed and nothing is wrong. But the problem just keeps getting progressively worse. Longer hesitations and harder shifting.

- Lancaster, OH, USA

problem #28

May 082014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles


The 2011 Cruze should be taken off the market. This car has caused me to almost crash 10 times in the past month that I have had it. There has to be a defect with the acceleration of the car. When I merge on to the interstate and try and speed up the car stalls out and has a hard time shifting. Thousands of others have complained about the same issue. This is a hazard to vehichle owners as well as other motorist. When will something be done about this? GM should have to fix these units.

- Selma, AL, USA

problem #27

Apr 022013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 8,115 miles
Hesitant acceleration issue. After coming to a stop. I put my foot on accelerator and vehicle did not go forward at first. Then engine rev up but vehicle started to move slowly. When it did I could only go 27 mph in a 45 mph zone. Had to pull over and turn off vehicle. This is a very dangerous issue when trying to merge on to a highway. Went to two authorized Chevrolet dealers on 12/02/13 and 4/02/14. Both dealers stated they could not duplicate problem and all trouble codes indicated everything is ok. Which it is not. This is a 1.4 turbo 4 engine. I am afraid to drive this vehicle. Please help!

- West Chester, PA, USA

problem #26

Feb 142011


  • miles
Bought brand new and has always had jerking and hesitation when hitting accelerator. Also jerking when shifting and over revving due to not shifting properly. Took to dealership, they couldn't replicate issue. At 36,000 miles had to have ECM replaced due to car stalling out at stops, running very rough then stalling at stops. Seemed to help somewhat but did not alleviate the running rough intermittently still at stops which is scary as don't know when it might stall out and not go as my job requires traveling through the week. At 50,000 miles had to have ECM program "updated" and spark plugs replaced...dealership said plugs should be on a recall but they did replace no charge I paid for labor charges of course. Car is still running rough intermittently at stops, almost stalls out but hasn't yet...I would never buy another Chevy product and am very sad to say that as had my 1998 Malibu for 12 years without major issues. Thank you.

- Zephyrhills, FL, USA

problem #25

Dec 182013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles


I was driving and all the sudden my car slowed down, a message came up that said "engine power reduced". I could not drive and had no acceleration ability. This has happened several times, and now it is happening frequently and completely stalls out.

- Brookville, PA, USA

problem #24

Dec 162013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 33,043 miles
I was beginning to accelerate from at stopped position ready to enter traffic when the car hesitated to the point of stalling out. The problem is periodic. It's very scary to be pulling out into traffic and the car practically stalls. I told the dealership but they didn't take me seriously.

- Warren, MI, USA

problem #23

Feb 122014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 41,432 miles
While driving on the highway my "engine power reduced","service traction control", and "service stabilitrak" warning notices appeared. Frantically I pulled over on the up coming exit ramp, even though the engine would not go over 5 mph with my gas pedal pushed all the way to the floor, and was fortunate not to be hit with my 3 children in the car. After doing my research, I turned off the car let it rest and continued driving only for it to happen 4 more times with in 25 minutes. This has also happened 3 other times throughout the week! there seems to be no answer from the dealership even though I took pictures of the warning lights and provided many other exactly similar complaints all across the country! I will not drive this car and especially not with my children in it I have just wasted 16K of my money ! why is there not a solution for this issue yet and if there is why does it take such extreme remedies to find the solution. This is a recall material situation! I would like someone to call me in regards to this situation, I feel there is no excuse my children and I could have died tonight !

- Willow Springs, IL, USA

problem #22

Feb 052014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
While parked in a parking lot waiting for the snowy conditions to slow down, I waited about 15 minutes with my car on idle. I pulled out of the parking spot to go to my destination. As I was on drive, my car slowed down to 5 mph and couldn't accelerate, message pulled up on my screen saying "engine power is reduced". took it to the dealership and quoted me $500 to fix the valve body system. I've read on a forum that this is a common problem for this model.

- Milford, MI, USA

problem #21

Feb 032014

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 97,213 miles


My 2011 Chevy Cruze ltz went in to reduced engine power mode and said to service stabilitrak and traction control. This happened in below freezing temperatures with frozen precipitation on the ground. Research online indicates this is a common problem with Chevy Cruze vehicles. The car was drive able after powering down for a few seconds, but a few miles down the road it would go into reduced engine power mode again. This has happened multiple times over the last week. Likely throttle body problem.

- Seminole, OK, USA

problem #20

Nov 182013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • miles
2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle decelerated while driving from 68 mph to 6 mph without warning. The consumer stated she was traveling East bound on the pa turnpike, when suddenly, the vehicle went from 68 mph to 6 mph with no warning. With all the traffic she was able to get to the outer lane and off the road. A tow truck driver was able to get the vehicle started. The next day, the dealer replaced the throttle body.

- Kunkletown, PA, USA

problem #19

Oct 312013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 51,100 miles
1.4 liter 2011 Cruze heater blowing cool air. GM inspection done on 10/17/13 and they said everything was good. They told me not to worry about the intermittent check engine light that keeps coming on. This happened within two weeks. We added a almost a quart of coolant following the directions in the owners manual. Now a month later it is a quart low again blowing cool air from the heater and a strong sweet smell permeates the car. The car also fails to properly brake at times and gain speed at times. It has stalled while idling at stoplights. There is a oily residue on the plastic shield located near the oil pan.

- Embarrass, MN, USA

problem #18

Nov 072013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 92,751 miles
2011 4dr eco.vehicle leaking antifreeze, strong smell of coolant and recall NHTSA campaign 12V288 GM 12081 oil on engine shield, repair done 11/7/2013 while visiting Colorado springs, co... dealer invo claims thermostat housing leaking, replaced control not holding...not address...11-12-2013 2nd failure coolant leak and oil mileage at failure 93513 dealer found leak at the corner of water outlet on rear cylinder head, and replaced outlet tube..11-23-13 went to start my car found antifreeze and oil leaking on the ground....calling dealer in Colorado springs again...this is [xxx]...something when its cold is causing coolant and oil to leak...found many service bulletins for these items and 2 recalls for this problem... information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #17

Apr 132013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 59,214 miles
While driving at any speed for it has happened several times the RPM's go so high the car accelerates and it sounds like the engine is going to blow up... at the same time the steering column locks and I loose all ability to steer the vehicle and the brake also try to lock. Making the car feel like I ran something over and it stuck under the car.... pulling the emergency brake and putting the car in neutral help bring it to a stop-

- Moreno Valley, CA, USA

problem #16

Jun 012011

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
My 2011 Chevy Cruze has an acceleration hesitation that causes me to feel totally unsafe in the vehicle. Starting about 6 months after I bought the car in 2011 the issue began. When I need to accelerate in certain situations such as pulling out on a road, passing another vehicle, accelerating after reducing speed, etc. Etc. The car loses power when I step on the gas for three-five seconds before slowly responding and accelerating to where I need it to be. It's as if the car dies for a few seconds. Those few seconds are always in situations when I need to be moving and I don't like it. I brought the car in to the dealership and was told that it was turbo lag. Thinking I didn't know much about cars, I let it go. The issue is getting worse (and there were numerous other little issues) so I brought the car in to another dealership right before it hit 36,000 miles and was told (on two separate visits) that the problem was perfectly normal and that there was nothing they could do. They showed me a tsb from Chevrolet saying that the issue was normal. They also said they could not replicate the issue. Interestingly enough, when they had my car for a total of 7.5 days (over two separate visits) they gave me a 2013 Cruze to drive. The newer Cruze did not have the hesitation problem at all, it drove beautifully. This leads me to believe that GM realized there was an issue with the 2011 Cruze and was able to remedy it in the newer models of the car which leaves the many 2011 Cruze owners scared for their lives every time they drive their cars forever. That isn't right. There are thousands of people with the same year, make and model that have this same issue. It is dangerous!! just because no one that we know of hasn't died yet that doesn't mean that there isn't an issue. The 2011 Cruze is unsafe and someone needs to do something about it.

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #15

May 032013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 10,510 miles
Consumer stated Chevrolet Cruze caused an accident, could not stop. It crashed into a Ford Expedition. The consumer also stated the air bag did not deploy.

- Loudon, TN, USA

problem #14

Jan 242013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
This incident is occurring on a new vehicle that was purchased less than 2 years ago. On 3 separate occasions, while driving on the freeway, at a rate of speed approximately 65 -75 mph, the lights on the dash would light up and the car would fail to accelerate and start losing speed. Attempts to press the accelerator and gain speed would result in either the car revving very high and only reach 5 - 10 mph hour, or the car would completely lose power and die. The owner of the vehicle was unable to exit the freeway due to the high rate of speed of the other vehicles on the freeway as the car would not accelerate faster than 5-10 mph. This situation is highly dangerous as the vehicle is in jeopardy of being in an accident or causing an accident as you have no warning before the car starts to just lose speed at a very fast pace. The manufacturer and/or dealership indicated they had corrected the problems each time.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #13

Jan 012013

Cruze 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle brake malfunction. The consumer stated as she turned into a parking lot, the vehicle suddenly accelerated, giving her no time to react, with applying the brake. The consumer hit a planter box, which stopped her from crashing into a wall.

- Flushing, MI, USA

problem #12

Jun 072012


  • 19,000 miles
Vehicle was purchased used with 18*** miles on the odometer. Vehicle transmission shifts erratically when driving in city conditions. Problem may cause stalling of vehicle at lower highway speeds. The transmission appears to slip at slow speeds. Before shifting, vehicle regularly hits maximum (red line) RPM. Poor downshifting into lower gears causes vehicle to lunge forward at lower speeds. Most notably from park to drive. On icy roads, the hard shifting may cause the vehicle to loose traction, resulting in a crash, causing fatalities or injuries to the occupants. Vehicle was taken to dealership, technicians were unable to reproduce customer complaint. Manufacturer was not contacted. Current mileage 28***.

- Effie, MN, USA

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